Class A Rankings Week #6 (12/31/2023)

Class A Rankings Week #6 (12/31/2023)

1. Hermantown (7A) (6-2-2)

Past Week Results: W 5-1 #3 Delano, W 5-1 #5 East Grand Forks, L 0-4 Shakopee

Upcoming Schedule: 1/2 @ #16 Proctor, 1/4 @ Rock Ridge, 1/6 vs Eden Prairie

The Hawks showed their strength this past week and that they are the clear number one team in Class A as they took out back to back Top 5 Class A teams by an identical 5-1 score to start the week. They overwhelmed a red hot Delano group with a big first period to separate and never allowed the Tigers into the game. The following day they started slow but a big second period put that game away against a good EGF team. While they did run out of gas taking a long bus trip after two taxing games when they lost to a good AA ranked Shakopee group the result doesn’t really matter much in these rankings. They now have a busy week that includes some interesting games with a rising ranked Proctor group and a tough as nails AA Rock Ridge crew as part of next week’s slate of games.

2. Warroad (8A) (10-2-0)

Past Week Results: L 2-3 Grand Forks Central, W 3-1 Grand Forks Red River, W 6-2 Providence Academy

Upcoming Schedule: 1/5 @ Fergus Falls, 1/6 @ #18 Detroit Lakes

The Warriors started their holiday classic by dropping a tough game to a good Grand Forks Central crew in a game where they again had a sleepy start and Central’s goalie got hot and closed the door late. The loss may provide a good lesson for these Warriors to learn from as their slowness out of the gate continues and could come back to haunt them later in the year if it doesn’t improve. They did rebound nicely by picking up two wins by taking down Grand Forks Red River and Providence Academy to end the week on a positive note. Now they hit the road next weekend with a trip to a struggling Fergus Falls before a good test vs a suddenly ranked and red hot Section 8A Detroit Lakes crew to end the week.

3. Delano (2A) (8-3-1)

Past Week Results: L 1-5 #1 Hermantown, T 4-4 Rock Ridge, W 9-0 Greenway

Upcoming Schedule: 1/4 @ Chanhassen, 1/6 vs #7 Orono

The Tigers had a very productive trip up north this past week. While it did not start out well as they they dug themselves a quick 0-3 to #1 Hermantown after 1 period they played the Hawks even the rest of the way and while their win streak was snapped they showed in the 2nd and 3rd period positive signs if they were to see the Hawks again that they can play with them. They carried that late game momentum into the rest of the week as they tied a very good AA Rock Ridge crew in a game where they battled back on a few different occasions and then routed Greenway to head home on a good note. Now they have a huge week as while the test vs AA Chanhassen will be great the 2A battle with rival #7 Orono at the end of the week will have all of Class A’s eyes on it.

4. St. Cloud Cathedral (5A) (9-3-1)

Past Week Results:W 5-2 Bemidji, L 2-4 Sartell, W 7-4 St Cloud Public

Upcoming Schedule:1/2 vs #9 Cloquet/Esko/Carlton

The Crusaders had their decade long winning streak snapped at the Granite City Classic Showcase this week but overall continued to do a nice job of staying afloat while they await their starting goalie to get healthy. They did open their week with a very impressive win over Bemidji but as mentioned earlier they were stunned the next day by Sartell who came storming back in the third period to end their decade long win streak over the Holiday Break. However, to the Crusaders credit as they have done really well so far they bounced back from the tough loss by getting a big win over their cross town rivals St Cloud Public to end the week on a good note. Just one game this week and it’s a big one when they welcome #9  Cloquet/Esko/Carlton to town in a good Top 10 Class A showdown.

5. East Grand Forks (8A) (7-5-0)

Past Week Results: L 1-5 #1 Hermantown

Upcoming Schedule: 1/2 vs Bemidji, 1/4 vs #11 Thief River Falls

The Greenwave went into #1 Hermantown and for one period looked the part as they outplayed the mighty Hawks. However, a three goal outburst in the second period was more than enough for Hermantown to pull away as EGF is not built to come back from large defects on teams. The loss leaves this team sitting at the five slot again this week as they have losses to 3 of the 4 teams that sit above them now and a loss to CEC who sits behind them. This week they have a rematch with Bemidji who they blew out earlier this year before a big 8A section game vs ranked Thief River Falls to try to build momentum with.

6. Mahtomedi (4A) (4-7-0)

Past Week Results: W 5-2 #7 Orono

Upcoming Schedule: 1/4 vs St Michael Albertville, 1/6 @ Minnetonka

The Zephyrs served notice this week that while the (4-7-0) record is ugly they are still a major threat in Class A and a clear Top 10 team when they went into #7  Orono and picked up an impressive road win. While the game was not pretty throughout and Mahtomedi will need to clean up the penalty issue the ability to dig deep and pull away in the third period on the road shows their still a ton of championship grit in this group. Now the schedule flips back into AA mode and they have a game vs STMA they will want to win for a little momentum before getting plenty of defensive zone work when they head to #1 AA Tonka to end their upcoming week..

7. Orono (2A) (7-4-0)

Past Week Results: L 2-5 #6 Mahtomedi

Upcoming Schedule: 1/4 vs Providence Academy, 1/6 @ #3 Delano

The Spartans welcomed in the defending state champions in Mahtomedi for their only game over the Holiday Break this past week. Orono did carry the play throughout and outshot the Zephyrs 48-32 but their inability to convert on the numerous powerplay chances came back to haunt them late when Mahtomedi was able to pull away in the third period. The loss hurts their status in these rankings but they still control their destiny for the #1 seed in Section 2A and that will be on the line this week when they take on Providence Academy and then the much anticipated game with rival #3 Delano at the end of the week.

8. Northfield (1A) (8-1-2)

Past Week Results: Idle

Upcoming Schedule: 1/6 vs Mankato West

The Raiders were idle over the holidays and won’t play again until this next upcoming Saturday creating a nearly two week break from the ice. The hope is they won’t be too off when they finally return to the ice and that they come back fully healthy. Ty Frank was in the lineup of the last game they played which is huge news for the Raiders as if you add him to their improving young Dcore this team suddenly becomes very deep on the blueline. This week they will stay in the Big Nine conference play when they take on Mankato West.

9. Cloquet/Esko/Carlton (7A) (7-4-0)

Past Week Results: W 5-2 Apple Valley/Burnsville, W 5-1 Anoka, L 3-4 OT Duluth Denfeld

Upcoming Schedule: 1/2 @ #4 St. Cloud Cathedral, 1/4 vs Superior, 1/6 vs Brainerd

The Lumberjacks were able to take 2nd place at the Heritage Classic in Duluth over the Holiday Break. They were able to pick up two AA wins when they cruised past both Apple Valley/Burnsville and Anoka to get into the Championship game. However, in the Title game they fell once again to AA Duluth Denfeld for the second time this year and while that loss isn’t terrible considering how the Hunters have played many in Class A it is still a game they wanted to win to avenge the loss from earlier in the year. Now they have a big week that starts with a big matchup at ranked St Cloud Cathedral before hosting Superior and AA Brainerd to finish out the three game slate.

10.         Monticello (5A) (9-2-0)

Past Week Results: W 9-0 Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato, W 7-0 Sauk Rapids, W 2-1 Bemidji

Upcoming Schedule: 1/5 @ Cambridge-Isanti

The Moose had another very good week and they have now won five straight games heading into 2024 and they climb into the Top 10 for the first time this season. Monticello was able to win all three games this week at the GCC Showcase as they routed both Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato and Sauk Rapids before winning a good tight game over an 8AA Bemidji, a team who has beat #11 TRF, which helps them break into the Top Ten. The most impressive result of the week was that they only gave up one goal in the three games and have only given up two goals overall during this recent five game win streak. This week they will look to stay hot as they have just one game vs Mississippi 8 Conference foe Cambridge/ Isanti.

11.         Thief River Falls (8A) (6-3-1)

Past Week Results: W 8-1 Lake of the Woods, W 14-1 Bismarck (ND)

Upcoming Schedule: 1/2 vs Crookston, 1/4 @ #5 East Grand Forks, 1/6 @ #17 Northern Lakes

The Prowlers did exactly what they should this week in their home holiday Ralph Engelstad Hockey Classic tournament. They played two teams that they were better than and they left no doubt as they showed some uncharacteristic offensive skill when they blew out Lake of the Woods and Bismarck by a combined score of 22-1. Now they have a busy week full of challenges as they start out with an improved 8A Crookston crew before finishing with games at ranked #5 EGF and #17 Northern Lakes to help give us a better idea of where this team is at.

12.         Hibbing/Chisholm (7A) (9-5-0)

Past Week Result: W 3-2 Breck, L 2-4 Gentry Academy, W 3-1 Two Rivers

Upcoming Schedule: 1/4 vs Greenway, 1/6 @ #15 Little Falls

Hibbing had three tough games at the Herb Brooks Holiday Classic this week. They were able to show some grit and more growth while taking third place. They started the week with a comeback win over Breck which did raise some eyebrows on how challenging it was. They were unable to continue their comeback magic vs Gentry in the Semis but they did recover to win the Third Place game over AA Two Rivers for the second time this year. This week they have a Section 7A game vs Greenway that is a must win before a good test when they head to #15 Little Falls to take on a Flyers crew just below them within these rankings.

13.         Alexandria (6A) (4-4-1)

Past Week Results: Idle

Upcoming Schedule: 1/4 @ St Cloud Public, 1/6 @ Bemidji

The Cards were idle after their best week of the season previously. Now they will try to shake off the rust of a long layoff and hope they can keep the momentum they gained before the self-imposed holiday bye week. They will have two good 8AA tests when they hit the road to start 2024 as they head to St Cloud Public before finishing off the week at Bemidji in two winnable but challenging games.

14.         Luverne (3A) (11-0-0)

Past Week Results: W 6-2 Rochester Lourdes, W 8-3 Albert Lea, W12-1 Austin

Upcoming Schedule: 1/2 vs Fairmont

Roll Cards Roll continued their strong play to start the season as they went into Rochester over the Holidays and picked up three more wins to be the only unbeaten team in Class A heading into 2024. Luverne started the holiday stretch a little slow and found themselves in a battle with Lourdes. However, a big 3rd period allowed them to pull away and they carried that momentum with them as they blew away Albert Lea and Austin on the following days. This team looks to be the favorite in Section 3A and with only one game this week vs Fairmont they should be able to keep their unbeaten streak for at least another week.

15.         Little Falls (5A) (7-4-0)

Past Week Results: W 2-1 Princeton, W 2-1 River Lakes, W 2-1 OT Bloomington Kennedy

Upcoming Schedule: 1/5 vs Hutchinson, 1/6 vs #12 Hibbing/Chisholm

The Flyers were able to get this holiday tournament started off with two critical 5A wins but the offensive woes continued. In both the Princeton and River Lakes games they were able to just slip by mainly on the efforts of their Stellar Sophomore Goaltender. Against Bloomington Kennedy they let struggling teams get their goalie hot and were nearly upset but to their credit found a way to win but again only scored 2 goals.. However, the two 5A wins in their holiday tournament did lock them into the #3 seed within the  Section. Now they have two good tests this week when they take on an improving Huthinson crew before hosting the young guns from #12 Hibbing the following day giving this Flyers crew a real opportunity to move up these rankings by the end of next week.

16.         Proctor (7A) (9-4-0)

Past Week Results: W 3-1 Brookfield (Wis.), W 3-2 #20 Southwest Christian/Richfield, W 5-2 #17 Northern Lakes

Upcoming Schedule: 1/2 vs #1 Hermantown, 1/4 @ Duluth Denfeld, 1/6 @ International Falls

The Rails are one of the state’s hotter Class A teams as they have now won 4 in row and are (4-1-0) in the 5 games since the return of their star goaltender. They were able to win their holiday classic by beating a good ranked Wisconsin team in Brookfield to start the tourney. They followed that up with two wins over ranked Class A teams in #20 Southwest Christian/ Richfield and #17 Northern Lakes to move up the ranking this week. Now they will go swim in the deep end of the Class A pool when they take on the #1 Hawks before  having games with a tough AA Denfeld and a 7A must have game vs International Falls to end the week.

17.         Northern Lakes (6A) (8-2-0)

Past Week Results:W 7-3 Hopkins, W 5-2 Somerset (Wis), L 2-5 #16 Proctor

Upcoming Schedule: 1/6 vs #11 Thief River Falls

The Lightning had a strong start to their holiday break as they were able to reach the Title game of the Proctor Holiday Tournament by taking down AA Hopkins and a Somerset crew from Wisconsin. However, in the championship game they were unable to overcome the Rails special teams and the momentum swung on 5 on 3 powerplay that gave Proctor the lead for good. Now they will look to get healthy as they are currently still missing multiple top scorers to injury but they will need to dial in at practice this week as they have defensively sound tough #11 Thief River Falls coming into this week in their only game give their best test yet as they look to continue to improve.

18.         Detroit Lakes (8A) (6-4-0)

Past Week Results: W 11-0 Fort Frances, W 4-0 #19 New Ulm, Fergus Falls

Upcoming Schedule: 1/4 vs Fargo Davies, 1/6 vs #2 Warroad

The Lakers have suddenly won 7 of their last 8 games and moved back into the Top 20 this week. Detroit Lakes was a young team at the start of the year and while they did struggle out of the gate but they have really played some good hockey of late including winning three games at the Fergus Falls Holiday Tournament where knocked off #19 New Ulm and avenged their worst loss of the year by beating their rivals the Otters the second time around. Now they have Fagro Davies coming to town as they try to keep their momentum going before they get visit from the #2 Warroad Warriors in a game that should give the Lakers a good sense of where they really are at this point of the season to end their upcoming weekend.

19.         New Ulm (3A) (10-3-0)

Past Week Results: W 5-4 Fergus Falls, L 0-4 #18 Detroit Lakes, W 5-0 Fort Frances

Upcoming Schedule: 1/2 @ Redwood Valley, 1/6 vs Marshall

The Eagles had a very strong week when they went up on their annual northern trip to Fergus Falls over the Holiday Break. They started the trip off well as they beat the host Otters to show they can play with teams outside of 3A. While they did get shutout by #18 Detroit Lakes, the team that sits just above them in these rankings, the next day they rebounded by taking care of business vs Fort Frances to finish the trip at a respectable (2-1-0). Now they head back into their Big South Conference play where they will look to win a bunch of games and gain momentum heading into the Section 3A playoffs.

20.         Southwest Christian/Richfield (4A) (6-4-0)

Past Week Results: W 4-3 Osseo, L 2-3 #16 Proctor, W 6-0 Somerset (Wis.)

Upcoming Schedule: 1/6 @ Waconia

The Stars re-enter the Top 20 rankings after two weeks of really good hockey. This past week the Stars Went up north to the Proctor holiday tourney over the break and took 3rd place losing to only the host #16 Rails in a tightly contested game. Currently SWC has four losses to teams ranked ahead of them in #3 Delano, #16 Proctor, #17 Northern Lakes and #19 New Ulm and they have a win over the next team just outside the Top 20 in Dodge County making them a really good fit here at #20. This week they have a winnable game vs now AA Waconia as they try to continue their momentum of good play of late.

Next Five Notable Teams-

•              Dodge County (1A) (7-5-0)- The Wildcats had a very good showing over the holidays in the Gold Division of the  Rochester Kiwanis Hockey Festival. They played some bigger schools and while they took their lumps vs Eagan they rebounded well and finished with two good wins over AA East Ridge and Fargo South/Shanley of North Dakota. Dodge County now controls their fate for the #2 seed in Section 1A and sits just outside the Top 20 due to head to head losses to #20 SWC & #15 Luverne. They have a good test this week when they take on an improving and good Chisago Lakes team.

•              La Crescent-Hokah (1A) (12-1-0)- The Lancers have now rattled off eight straight wins with six of those being critical Section 1A wins. This past week they won three more big section 1A games when they took down Albert Lea, Austin and Lourdes for the second time this year. They now are in firm control of the #3 seed in Section 1A and could realistically win out looking at the remainder of their schedule. Two winnable games this upcoming week with another Section 1A games vs Austin before a game vs border rival Aquinas/Holmen (Wis.).

•              Breck (2A) (6-5-1)- The Mustangs had a weird adventure at the Herb Brooks Holiday Tournament this week. They started out on a positive note as it looked like they were on the verge of a big upset over #12 Hibbing, however they were unable to hold the lead and dropped a tough one. The next day though was inexcusable as they dropped a head scratcher of a game to Pine City which does raise all kinds of alarm bells. They did win the 7th place game over Simley but the overall weekend was clunker. They now have three games this week that they need to win to try to move back into the Top 20. 

•              Minneapolis (2A) (4-8-0)- The 612 crew’s losing streak hit six consecutive games after they went up to Roseau and were swept in all three games. They had chances to win each game including holding a two goal lead twice over the Rams in the third period before they let that contest slip away to show this team is still dangerous. However, they are giving up an average of 5 goals a game during this six game skid and that will need to improve for them to truly contend. It won’t be any easier this week with one game vs a decent AA St Louis Park team.

•              Chisago Lakes (4A) (6-6-0)- The Wildcats are slowly improving and have shown some recent signs that they could get back to their 3rd straight Section 4A Final as they had won 4 straight before falling in a tough game to AA rival Forest Lake by a tight score of 3-2. All six of their losses are to either AA schools or ranked A teams and this is a team to keep an eye on in the second half in Class A. They will have a chance to make a statement this week when they take on Dodge County in what should be a good test for each team.

BHS Class A 2023-24 Section Break Downs Week #6 (12/31/23)

Section 1A Rankings (12/31/23)

1- Northfield (8-1-2)

2- Dodge County (7-5-0)

3- La Crescent-Hokah (12-1-0)

4- Winona (4-4-0)

5- Albert Lea (4-7-1)

6- Rochester Lourdes (3-8-0)

7- Waseca (7-4-0)

8- Austin (3-8-0)

9- Faribault (2-7-0)

10- Red Wing (3-8-0)

Section 1A Outlook- La Crescent had a big week three win week which included 1A wins over Albert Lea, Austin & Rochester Lourdes to lock into the #3 seed. Dodge County had a very good (2-1-0) showing in the Gold Division of the Kiwanis Hockey Festival. Red Wing went (1-1-0) in their home River Bend Holiday Classic. Northfield, Winona, Waseca & Faribault were all idle over the Holiday break.

Section 2A Rankings (12/31/23)

1- Delano (8-3-1)

2- Orono (7-4-0)

3- Breck (6-5-1)

4- Minneapolis (4-8-0)

5- Providence Academy (3-9-0)

6- Mound Westonka (5-5-0)

7- Hutchinson (3-5-1)

8- Litchfield Dassel-Cokato (2-10-0)

Section 2A Outlook- Delano had a strong Northern Swing road trip and went (1-1-1) overall. Orono lost their only game of the week to the Defending Class A Champions. Breck took a disappointing 7th place at the Herb Brooks Classic. Minneapolis & Providence Academy both went (0-3-0) up north and fell further below .500. Hutchinson picked up a tie in their only action over the holiday break. Litchfield Dassel-Cokato picked up their 2nd win of the year while at the Granite City Classic Showcase and Mound Westonka was idle over the Holiday Break.

Section 3A Rankings (12/31/23)

1- Luverne (11-0-0)

2- New Ulm (10-3-0)

3- Mankato East (6-5-1)

4- Minnesota River (6-2-0)

5- Mankato West (4-6-1)

6- Marshall (6-7-0)

7- Windom (3-8-0)

8- Fairmont (1-11-0)

9- Worthington (0-7-0)

10- Redwood Valley (0-10-0)

Section 3A Outlook- Luverne continued to roll and stay as the state’s only unbeaten Class A team. New Ulm had a good (2-1-0) weekend up north at the Fergus Falls Holiday Tournament. Mankato East went (1-1-1) at the Granite City Showcase. Windom went (1-2-0) at the Kiwanis Hockey Festival. Mankato West, Marshall & Redwood Valley all went winless in their Holiday Tournaments. Minnesota River & Worthington were both idle over the Holiday Break.

Section 4A Rankings (12/31/23)

1- Mahtomedi (4-7-0)

2- Southwest Christian (6-4-0)

3- Chisago Lakes (6-6-0)

4- St Paul Highland Park (6-6-0)

5- Simley (3-9-1)

6- St Paul Academy (2-5-0)

7- South St Paul (3-8-0)

8- Bloomington Kennedy (2-10-0)

Section 4A Outlook- Mahtomedi won a big non section Class A game to show they are still a major threat in Class A. Southwest Christian had a good third place showing up north. Chisago Lakes lost their only game to their AA rival neighbors. St Paul Highland Park took 6th place in the SSP Premier Tournament but did pick up a head to head 4A win over South St Paul. Simley & Bloomington Kennedy both went winless in their respective holiday tournaments. St Paul Academy was idle over the Holiday Break.

Section 5A Rankings (12/31/23)

1- St Cloud Cathedral (9-3-1)

2- Monticello (8-2-0)

3- Little Falls (7-4-0)

4- Princeton (5-4-1)

5- River Lakes (4-5-2)

6- Pine City (4-8-0)

7- Sauk Rapids (4-6-2)

8- Becker/Big Lake (5-4-0)

9- Mora/Milaca (8-5-0)

Section 5A Outlook- St Cloud Cathedral had an up and down showing vs AA competition this week outside of the section. Monticello had a very good week winning three more games to improve their wins streak to 5 games which included a win over 5A Sauk Rapids. Little Falls had a good week with their own Holiday Tournament winning all three games including head to head 5A wins over River Lakes & Princeton. Pine City took 6th place at the Herb Brooks Classic and Mora/Milaca went (.500) down in Red Wing for the Holidays. Becker/Big Lake was idle over the Holidays.

Section 6A Rankings (12/31/23)

1- Alexandria (4-4-1)

2- Northern Lakes (8-2-0)

3- Fergus Falls (3-7-0)

4- Wadena Deer Creek (3-6-0)

5- Morris Benson (4-7-0)

6- Willmar (3-6-0)

7- Prairie Centre (3-8-0)

8- Breckenridge/Wahpeton (1-7-0)

Section 6A Outlook- Northern Lakes took 2nd place at the Bill McGann Holiday Classic. Fergus Falls went (1-2-0) in their own holiday tournament that they host annually. Morris Benson won their Holiday Tournament and picked up a head to head 6A win over Prairie Centre. Alexandria, Wadena Deer Creek, Willmar & Breckenridge/Wahpeton were all idle over the Holiday Break.

Section 7A Rankings (12/31/23)

1- Hermantown (6-2-2)

2- Cloquet/Esko/Carlton (7-4-0)

3- Hibbing (9-5-0)

4- Proctor (9-4-0)

5- Greenway (2-7-1)

6- North Shore (5-4-1)

7- Ely (10-3-0)

8- International Falls (2-7-1)

9- Moose Lake (3-8-0)

Section 7A Outlook- Hermantown had a solid (2-1-0) week with two big wins over top five Class A teams. Proctor had a big (3-0-0) week winning their home Holiday Tournament. Cloquet/Esko/Carlton & Hibbing both went (2-1-0) in their respective holiday tournaments with the Jacks taking 2nd place and BlueJackets taking 3rd place. Greenway had a (1-0-1) showing over the holidays. Ely went (3-0-0) over the break which included a head to head win over 7A Moose Lake. North Shore & International Falls both went winless in their respective holiday tournaments.

Section 8A Rankings (12/31/23)

1- Warroad (10-2-0)

2- East Grand Forks (7-5-0)

3- Thief River Falls (6-3-1)

4- Detroit Lakes (7-4-0)

5- Crookston (6-3-0)

6- Red Lake Falls (8-3-0)

7- Park Rapids (5-3-2)

8- Lake of the Woods (5-4-0)

9- Kittson County Central (2-9-0)

10- Bagley/Fosston (2-6-0)

Section 8A Outlook- Warroad had a (2-1-0) week at this holiday tournament outside the section. East Grand Forks lost their only game of the week to the #1 team in Class A. Both Thief River Falls & Crookston had had (2-0-0) weeks which included a win over 8A Lake of the Woods. Detroit Lakes had a very nice week and won the Fergus Falls Holiday Tournament. Red Lake Falls took 5th place at the Herb Brooks Holiday Classic. Kittson County Central went (2-1-0) outside of the section while Park Rapids tied their only game of the week. Bagley/Fosston was idle over the Holiday Break.